A New Negative Advertising Campaign

I was intrigued to learn that

Philip Morris launched a new quit smoking campaign a couple of weeks ago

A new quit smoking campaign? How many have they launched? When are Harley Davidson going to launch a quit biking campaign? Or Chanel going to launch a quit scent campaign? How many other companies are going to tell people to stop buying their products?

Perhaps it’s the new way of marketing stuff. Negative advertising – as trialed by Tobacco Control’s “plain” packaging. Tell people not to buy things. Don’t ever buy Product X. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life. You’ll probably have people queuing round the block to buy it.

Participants are given four options on how to go ‘smoke free’:

Quit smoking cigarettes
Quit with cessation products
Switch to e-cigarettes
Switch to heated tobacco

Maybe it’s that Philip Morris have decided that the future is in e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn tobacco, And they may be right. In which case they’re trying to wean people off tobacco, and onto something else they sell. Don’t buy our motorbikes: buy our new flying bicycles instead.

Over on Taking Liberties, commenters were saying that PM had been taken over by antismokers. And maybe it has. But I thought that PM might be being very clever. Fiendishly clever.

After all, in the manichean universe of Tobacco Control, tobacco companies like Philip Morris are the embodiment of pure evil. So what does Tobacco Control do when the Devil himself starts telling people to Be Good and Stop Smoking? Are they going to agree with Philip Morris? Or are they going to say: Don’t listen to them, carry on smoking. Could they ever get themselves to agree with anything anyone in Big Tobacco says? Can the Lord Of Lies ever speak truth? By swapping sides – or appearing to swap sides – Philip Morris may have wrong-footed Tobacco Control.

But there’s another fiendishly clever thing to this:

But here’s the twist. The campaign suggests that smokers should invite friends and family to support their efforts to stop smoking by making ‘commitments to help you stay motivated’.

Ideas include:

cooking you dinner every week for a month
looking after your pet when you’re on holiday
helping to redecorate your living room
go speed dating with you

Well, if other people want you to stop smoking, shouldn’t they help out? Shouldn’t they do something about it?

And if they are to do something about it, why not take a leaf out of the Tobacco Control playbook, and start bullying you to stop smoking. After all, that’s what Tobacco Control is: a bunch of bullies. And if your friends and family can be made to become bullies, perhaps they’ll finally realise that Tobacco Control is just a bunch of bullies. Once other people get dragged in, they’ll have to take one side or the other.

For that’s the trouble with Tobacco Control’s manichean universe. They cast themselves as saints, and tobacco companies and smokers as sinners, but it’ll take just one half turn of the wheel of fortune for them to find the roles reversed.

And I think that this is what’s almost bound to happen, because Tobacco Control is one of the most divisive and destructive forces currently loose in the world. It’s not just that they’re bullies. They’re also liars. And they do a colossal amount of social damage, as they bankrupt pubs, shatter communities, set people against one another. And they do it on a global scale. And all the while loudly claiming to be on the side of the angels.

Anyway, I’m not going to join the chorus condemning Philip Morris. I think the tobacco companies are in a fight for their survival against the demonic forces in Tobacco Control, and I don’t want to help make life any harder for them than it already is,. And also I think that they may have just made a couple of smart moves. “May” being the principal operative word.

About Frank Davis

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12 Responses to A New Negative Advertising Campaign

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    It is time some small producers came it the tobacco market with some quality products like Heimat have in Switzerland.

  2. wobbler2012 says:

    Our main content writer gave it a good going over the other day:


    Every single time something like this happens the charlatans in tobacco control get exposed for exactly what they are.

    And just so you know, yes we sell the iQOS but we are very much “live and let live” that is our philosophy. :-)

  3. Rose says:


    President Trump has been annoying people again today.

    President Trump on Sunday again blamed improper forestry management for contributing to the deadly wildfires tearing through California.
    “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!” the president tweeted while on his trip to France to mark the 100 years since the end of World War I.”
    New York Post

    Though I have heard lots about Climate Change all day and how insulting and wrong the President is, I have not heard a single word about Eucalyptus trees, an invasive species unwisely imported from Australia in the late 1800’s.

    How the Eucalyptus Came to California

    A Cautionary Tale

    “The eucalyptus goes to California:
    Following its spread throughout Europe, northern Africa, India, and South America, settlers in California became increasingly interested in the eucalyptus. Not only was eucalyptus a fascinating novelty, but the California Gold Rush of the late 1840s and early 1850s created high demand for wood for constructing buildings and for fuel. Deforestation had become a serious concern, so much so that the California Tree Culture Act of 1868 was created to encourage people to plant more trees, particularly along roads. Many entrepreneurs rushed to capitalize on the situation.”

    “By the early 1900s, the get-rich mindset had caused many aspiring forest tycoons to plant countless acres of eucalyptus in hopes of selling the timber for a tidy profit. It’s estimated that there were over 100 companies involved in the eucalyptus industry at this time, and they changed the landscape of much of California.”

    “In addition to these new plantations, there are other divisive issues surrounding the eucalyptus today. Blue gum can be invasive in California, aggressively spreading from its original planting if enough water is present, such as in the form of fog. The bark strips dropped by the blue gums are extremely flammable, which can lead to intense fires, such as the Oakland Firestorm of 1991.”

    “Fires in eucalyptus forests, which cover huge areas of Australia, can be particularly intense.
    Those trees have “very high biomass, are very flammable, and have a lot of oil,” Dr Grant Wardell-Johnson.

    In fact, the trees’ oil, and their hard, drought-resistant leaves, are thought to be ways the trees have evolved to encourage fires, which eliminate competition while providing a fertile environment for the trees’ quick regrowth.

    The ferocity of fires also depends on factors like climate and topography – fires burn more quickly on slopes, for example.”

    I do wish the President would explain himself better.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control has captured PMI. Tobacco control is corrupt and drunk with power. Tobacco control must be destroyed.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m not at all sure that PMI have been captured by Tobacco Control. They might have been. If they’d captured it, they’d close it down. Or put rat poison in tobacco. Neither of those things have happened (yet).

      I just think PMI (and all other tobacco companies) are besieged.

    • A covert merger occurred long ago, not a takeover of one side (sellers of dried aromatic leaves) by the other (capnophobic state-endorsed scaremongers), rather, both sides have been colluding to the point of mating, begetting an unprecedented ideological monster, and unleash its evil power on the world at large. Phagocytosis is not the most apposite biological metaphor to describe that phenomenon, symbiosis would be a far more accurate one. Grandiloquent and outlandish as it may sound, this hypothesis remains the only sound and sensible political explanation for how the events surrounding the rise in anti-smoking prejudice have been unfolding for the past seven decades. Welcome to the integration of State and Economy: there is no more a Public vs Private sector antagonism, only overarching corruption!
      And, yes, the moral stench of Tobacco Control has become unbearable and that beast must be destroyed!

  5. Clicky says:

  6. smokingscot says:

    I see some aspiring politician in Wales fully intends to push for a complete smoking ban in all city centres.

    If he manages to become the next First Minister.


    • Rose says:

      Thank heavens for online shopping, then. They really don’t think about the consequences of their actions do they?

      Making life difficult for motorists and glorifying the bus, creating vast pedestrian precincts, led to out of town shopping centres with lots of parking spaces and empty town centre shops that had once been bustling with customers.

      If smokers are banned city centres, their families won’t be going either. Even less customers. Good thinking Mr.Drakeford,

  7. beobrigitte says:

    A new quit smoking campaign? How many have they launched? When are Harley Davidson going to launch a quit biking campaign? Or Chanel going to launch a quit scent campaign? How many other companies are going to tell people to stop buying their products?
    Harley Davidson and Chanel are not under attack, the tobacco industry is. The anti-smokers do everything to ban tobacco, smoking, talking about smoking, cigarettes and tobacco as a normal consumer product, so there is only anti-smoking propaganda found in the media.

    I think it’s a good move by Philip Morris. The Anti-smokers hate it.

    Earlier in 2018 the company attracted criticism from the Government for writing to NHS trusts and offering to provide cigarette alternatives to staff to help them quit.

    George Butterworth, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This is a staggering hypocrisy from a tobacco company to promote its own smoking cessation products in the UK, while continuing to promote tobacco cigarettes across the world.

    Naturally, ASH has something to say, not missing out the “poor chiiiiiiildren” :
    Stop smoking charity ASH, pointed out that Philip Morris International was one of a consortium of tobacco companies which lost a legal challenge aimed at blocking laws on plain packaging for cigarettes.

    The group’s director of policy, Hazel Cheeseman added: “This campaign is simply PR puff.

    “A massively profitable global tobacco company is selling the line that they’ve turned over a new leaf in an effort to flog their latest gadgets.
    “If they were serious about a smokefree world they wouldn’t challenge tobacco legislation around the world but instead support regulations that will really help smokers quit and prevent children from taking up smoking.”

  8. Robert Lovelace says:

    I remain cynical about PMI. Your theory certainly has some logic to it, but TobCon are quick to make ridiculous retorts and muddy the waters around the relative safety of their products anyway.

    PMI has declared they want to “unsmoke” the world and are pushing aggressive anti-smoking campaigns through their social media accounts. They once tweeted positively about smoking bans! I replied to them saying just how Goddamn ridiculous and awful it is to prop up smoking bans as some sort of public health achievement while their customers are continuously pushed into the dirt under the boot heels of government, Big Public Health, and the general population. I let them know those bans were based on bullshit science, and that they know this better than I do. They have yet to ever make a tweet about them since then. (not that I think my tweet had anything to do with it, but I like to think it does!)

    They’re practically waging a crusade against both tobacco control *and* existing smokers. They don’t want to just offer an alternative – they have made it explicitly clear they think their products are “better” than cigarettes and want to convert every smoker on the planet to an iQOS/e-cig user. Simon Clark has written about them on his blog, and I have to agree with him; it’s become rather silly. It has certainly made his smoking commenters irate about PMI’s apparent arrogance and condescension toward their customers.

    Now, compare everything PMI is doing to one of my favorite blog posts of the year so far: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-time-move-eddy-pirard/?published=t

    This is from Japan Tobacco International’s CEO. Here’s a quote:
    “At JTI we believe in choice. We do not believe in dictating to adult consumers whether to smoke or vape, or to quit for that matter. We rather offer them the freedom to make an informed choice from a wide range of products – legal and highly regulated – and to support them in their choice. The reality is that a large majority of consumers around the world continue to choose conventional tobacco products over vaping products and we see both coexisting for the foreseeable future.”

    This is quite brazen, to say the least. And some select images from JTI’s website here:

    Look at the absolute size of JTI’s gonads here. What other industry giant steps up to even remotely contradict claims about the “addictiveness” of smoking? To outright say “no, you idiots, ETS has not been shown to cause disease.” PMI wouldn’t dream of doing this now.

    Now at the end of the day, a corporation is a corporation. Their bottom line is what matters most. But at least JTI sees their loyal smoking customers as part of that bottom line, unlike PMI. I’d stand behind them before doing so with PMI, and it’s quite a shame they aren’t as large and carry as much clout as the Marlboro owners do.

    Then again, perhaps it’s because of PMI’s clout that they’ve taken this turn as a company. As you say, they are all fighting for their survival, and PMI can afford to wield themselves and their brands as part of the tobacco control “endgame” on smoking despite the outpouring of negative publicity against them, and it has left tobacco control in quite a predicament *to an extent*. I know the U.K. sees it a bit differently, but in the U.S., all tobacco control hands are on deck to stop the advent of vaping and heat-not-burn tobacco. Plenty of bullshit junk science and propaganda already coming out their workshops to sow doubt and fear among smokers and the non-smoking public, just as they’ve done with cigarettes. I am very excited to see how things turn out even five years from now.

  9. RdM says:

    Excellent comment, and I’m glad that the Recent Comments widget enabled on the right allows us to see it, even as a comment on a post from last year. Bravo!
    And thanks for the JTI Linked in link.

    But I have to demur when he writes

    Can the interests of regulators and businesses be reconciled? I think they can. If not, in our industry, the solution could be to nationalize companies, remove all nicotine – known to be addictive – or make the product outright illegal.

    Barking up the wrong tree there, IMHO. Several wrong trees.

    I don’t think nicotine is addictive (“like heroin”)(“or cocaine”?) although I like and even depend upon the availability of tobacco, as I do coffee, in my own personal life. Or even toast!

    “A Critique Of Nicotine Addiction” is perhaps a useful start in understanding this.

    As for the absurdity of removing nicotine (what, so that the consumer can inhale all the supposedly ‘toxic’ components of smoke without satisfaction, and supplement with Big Pharma nicotine?) from tobacco cigarettes,

    Well, that was one of the ‘endgame’ ideas, and so far still perhaps taken up by the US FDA.

    Some critique here, even from a former (but still out for himself?) ASH CEO:


    And there’s much more …

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